Healthy Rangers await banged-up Hurricanes in 2nd round of playoffs

NHL: New York Rangers at Carolina Hurricanes
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers returned to practice Wednesday after two days off, which followed a first-round series sweep against the Washington Capitals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Blueshirts came out of that series healthy and now receive extra rest by virtue of winning in four games.

Next up for the Rangers is a tougher series against the Carolina Hurricanes, who made fairly quick work of the New York Islanders, finishing off that first-round series with a 6-3 win in Game 5 on Tuesday.

The Hurricanes did not come out of that series unscathed, though. And their injuries could factor into the outcome of the Eastern Conference Second Round.

Related: Peter Laviolette not saying if lineup changes in store for Rangers against Hurricanes

Hurricanes receive injury updates ahead of playoff series against Rangers

NHL: New York Rangers at Carolina Hurricanes
Tony DeAngelo carries puck against his former team — James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Hurricanes top-four defenseman Brett Pesce, who sustained a lower-body injury in Game 2 against the Islanders, had been in a walking boot. But he appears to be getting healthier. Pesce was seen walking without the boot after the Hurricanes eliminated the Islanders, and though he is not yet cleared to play, signs are pointing towards him making an appearance in the later stages of the second round.

“If everything goes as expected, he will play games in this round,” Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell said Wednesday. “Maybe not right away.”

Tony DeAngelo, who replaced Pesce in the lineup the past three games, appears to have diodged a serious injury after taking a slash to his arm in the late stages of Game 5. X-rays reportedly came back clear, meaning he should be good to go against his former team in the second round.

“He’s feeling better today. That shouldn’t be an issue at all,” Waddell stated.

The final update was for forward Jesper Fast, who was injured in the Hurricanes’ regular-season finale. CT scans and MRIs show that Fast injured a muscle in his neck, which has kept him out for the duration of the playoffs, so far. Fast remains in a neck brace.

“It’s a matter of the doctors getting comfortable,” before he can resume hockey activity, Waddell explained.

Despite the injuries, Carolina is a team with great depth, meaning New York will certainly have their hands full. But so will the Hurricanes, because not only are the Rangers as deep a team, but they’re healthier to start the series.

Dane Walsh is a life-long fan of the New York Rangers. Growing up in the tri-state area, Dane has... More about Dane Walsh

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